UPDATE: HGTV has "decided not to move forward" with the show.
UPDATE II: Additional remarks of Benham attacking homosexuality as "destructive" and "demonic" have also surfaced.
Last month, the HGTV network announced that it will launch a new reality TV show, “Flip it Forward,” starring David and Jason Benham. The twin brothers will “leverage their good-natured sibling rivalry to help families find a fixer-upper and transform it into the dream home they never thought they could afford.”
What the announcement didn't mention is that at least one of the Benhams is not just a real estate dealer but also a dedicated right-wing activist in the mold of his father, Flip Benham, who has headed the abortion-clinic protest group Operation Save America ever since it split from the militant anti-choice group Operation Rescue.
As leader of OSA, Benham has condemned the interfaith Sandy Hook memorial, protested in front of mosques while shouting “Jesus Hates Muslims” and blamed the Aurora shooting on the Democratic Party, which he said promotes a “culture of death.”
He has also protested LGBT pride events, interrupted church services during a sermon by “sodomite Episcopalian bishop” Gene Robinson and was found “guilty of stalking a Charlotte abortion doctor after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician's name and photo on it.” OSA* even blamed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on abortion rights:
As smoke rises from the ashes in New York City the nation and the world’s attention is turned towards the evil that has committed this heinous crime. A crime of passion that has shed the innocent blood of thousands of victims both male and female young and old. The question is who is responsible for the carnage those who did the detestable act or whose sins brought it about.
God’s word clearly says bloodshed begets bloodshed He also tells us whatsoever a man sows so shall he reap. What we as a nation have sowed in shedding innocent blood on a daily basis at abortion clinics has come home to roost upon all of us. Yes whether we like it or not we are all guilty of permitting the sin of abortion in our nation. This includes you and I (Pro-life) pro-choice and the entire network of our society.
Flip's son, David Benham, led a prayer rally — Charlotte 7:14 — outside of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012, which he told conservative radio host Janet Mefferd was needed to stop “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation” and “demonic ideologies tak[ing] our universities and our public school systems”
He told Mefferd that his brother Jason joined him in organizing the DNC prayer protest.
We don’t realize that, okay, if 87 percent of Americans are Christians and yet we have abortion on demand; we have no-fault divorce; we have pornography and perversion; we have a homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation; we have adultery; we have all of the things; we even have allowed demonic ideologies to take our universities and our public school systems while the church sits silent and just builds big churches. We are so complacent, we are so apathetic and we are very hypocritical in the church, that’s why the Bible says judgment begins in the house of God. So when we prayed at 714 we asked God and our city to forgive us for allowing these things in the house of God.
David also discussed his work to pass North Carolina’s Amendment One, which enshrined a ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state constitution.
In North Carolina, you know, we just fought for Amendment One, which was a constitutional amendment that simply said, this is exactly what the amendment said is the only legal marriage in North Carolina was between a man and a woman. We received—it was such a battle in North Carolina, it blew me away. I already knew in my heart as most all of us Christians in America know that we are in a very desperate spiritual situation and moral situation in our country, but it really hit home during Amendment One, so much so that when Amendment One passed I realized the only three counties in North Carolina that actually voted against the amendment were Charlotte, Raleigh and Asheville, our three cities. So we had all the rural areas and all the suburban areas but we lost all the cities. So I felt like, okay, it’s time that we have a citywide church service of repentance and that’s the reason that we decided to do it right in the heart of Charlotte the night before the DNC.
David also leads protests outside of abortion clinics where he praises demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch.”
He also protested at a 2009 LGBT event [PDF] in Charlotte. He serves on the board of the Coalition of Conscience [PDF], a group led by far-right anti-gay activist Michael Brown.
The ADL also profiled his anti-Muslim activism:
David Benham, Flip Benham's son and an OSA spokesman, called the Islamic center a "den of iniquity," and referred to Muslims as "the enemy attacking" America. Benham, portraying the United States as a Christian nation, also drew this distinction: "The difference between Islam and Christianity: Islam takes life and enslaves it. Christianity lays its life down and sets you free." The day prior to the demonstration, OSA released a statement asserting that seeks to convert Muslims who are "enslaved in the tyrannical bondage of Islam" to Christianity.
In a 2012 blog post on Operation Save America’s website, David likened the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany:
I read an excellent article this morning by a former NFL player, Ken Hutcherson, on the political correctness of many evangelical organizations in America today. I share his same sentiment when it comes to Christian organizations appeasing evil instead of resisting it. In a desperate attempt to appear attractive and not “offensive”, an overwhelming number of Christian organizations in America have adopted a politically correct policy of appeasement in the face of evil instead of standing at the mid-point of biblical tension on the social issues of our day.
In terms of Ken’s take on Referendum 74 (same sex marriage vote), if evil is being accepted and appreciated at the national level, aggressive Christian men must lead the charge against it. In the late 1940′s England realized this truth with Neville Chamberlain’s Policy of Appeasement and the Nazi regime. Chamberlain thought he could somehow “appease” the fuehrer, yet Winston Churchill aggressively stood against this policy and proclaimed that they must kill Hitler and destroy the regime in its entirety. It wasn’t long before Chamberlain’s “politically correct” policy fell flat on its face, and Churchill – the more aggressive man – took the reins and joined America in defeating the beast called, Naziism [sic].
The same year, he wrote in the Christian Post that marriage equality “erodes the moral fabric of our society” and “threaten[s] future generations,” adding that “if we are going to continue as a nation we must preserve and protect the most sacred institutions of society, specifically marriage & family.”
He also cited the Levitical death penalty for homosexuality to warn that marriage equality will destroy society, adding that gay men will never find true love:
It’s a shame that we have slid so far south of traditional values in this country that the very bedrock of society, the family unit, cannot even be defined as it truly is.
The Christian principles that Adams referred to are both universal and societal. Societal moral principles, such as marriage & family, are as eternal and immutable as universal principles, such as the patterns of the sun. The only difference between the two is that we have a choice to believe and uphold societal principles, yet we have no choice but to believe universal ones. Marriage between one man and one woman is as fixed as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West, but some don’t believe that anymore.
Trying to redefine a moral principle is like trying to redefine the pattern of the sun…it’s absurd. The biblical/historical definition of marriage is unchanging. The only thing that is changing, however, is our reliance upon God’s standards. At one time, our founders, like John Adams, confessed total reliance upon these standards. Yet today, our leaders can’t run fast enough from them. This exodus is producing a corrupt society, and, unless you have your head buried in the sand, the evidence is pretty clear.
For the men on the other side of this vote, I’ll say a couple of things: You’ll never find the love of a father in the arms of another man. The emotional hurt that you’ve experienced can only be healed through a life-giving relationship with the very one that created you. You are a precious gift of God. I encourage fellow North Carolinians to love and embrace you as a person. Redefining an eternal principle will not heal the hurt you’ve experienced, only correctly relating to the one that created the principle will.
In the Leviticus passage above it says that death is the consequence for homosexual sin. This is how detestable this type of sin is to God. However, Jesus came and took the consequences of this sin upon Himself on the cross. Homosexual sin is covered by the blood of Jesus the same way stealing is. The only difference today is that homosexual sin carries with it an agenda, other sins do not. Homosexuality demands acceptance, and the blood of Jesus cannot forgive sins that are no longer sins. The blood of Jesus cleanses sin.
Today, if we redefined how many inches were in a foot we would weaken every structure built-in America moving forward. In 20 years the only buildings or houses left standing would be those built prior to 2012. In the same way, if we redefine marriage it would weaken the very moral structure of society. In 20 years the only marriages left standing would be those that held to God’s original standard.
*Correction: The post originally attributed the statement about 9/11 to Flip Benham. The comments were from a blog post featured on the website of Operation Save America, the group run by Benham.